Friday, November 05, 2010

Quangocrats wanted : Scottish Legal Complaints Commission seek ‘non-lawyer’ board members with legal & ‘consumer’ backgrounds at £209+ a day

SLCCScottish Legal Complaints Commission seek new non-lawyer board members for window dressing exercise. THE USUAL SUSPECTS, quangocrats, & other ‘regular-appointees-on-the-Government-circuit’ will today be rubbing their hands at the prospect of yet another publicly appointed position of £209+ per day to add to their growing list of jobs as it was revealed the Scottish Government announced they are seeking an additional three ‘non'-lawyer’ board members to fill positions on the anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and one further lawyer member appointment. These latest appointments to the SLCC board will be made in early 2011 by Scottish Ministers in consultation with Scotland’s Lord President, Lord Hamilton.

Curiously, the latest attempt by the Scottish Government to ‘enhance’ the consumer credentials of the notoriously anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission requires the three new non-lawyer positions be filled by persons who specialise in, among other things “consumer advocacy”, “consumer rights” and “consumer needs” – three very distinct areas the SLCC and its board members have worked 100% against since it was created in early 2008.

Lord HamiltonScotland’s top judge Lord Hamilton will have final say-so over SLCC’s new ‘non-lawyer’ appointees. While the recruitment drive appears to focus on consumer credentials, there is also a requirement for applicants to have a background in legal education and complaints handling, the provision of advice to members of the public on or in relation to such matters, the practice and provision of legal education and training, civil or criminal proceedings, court procedures and practice generally, the practice and provision of other legal services, and the monitoring of legal services. The successful candidates will only be appointed by Scottish Ministers after consultations with Scotland’s top judge, the Lord President, Lord Hamilton, who is in charge of the entire Scottish courts system.

Scottish GovernmentScottish Government amended complaints law to bolster SLCC’s board with additional quangocrats. The increase in the non-lawyer compliment of the SLCC’s board has been brought about after the Scottish Government brought in a specific amendment to the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 to expand the SLCC’s board non-lawyer complement. The apparently little publicised amendment states : “This Order makes certain changes to the number and composition of the membership of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. The number of members (other than the chairing member) is increased from 8 to 11 (article 2(a)). This increase is made up of an increase in the number of non-lawyer members (other than the chairing member) from 4 to 6 (article 2(b)) and an increase in the number of lawyer members from 4 to 5 (article 2(c)).”

Margaret Scanlan - Called to the Bars - Sunday Mail  15 March 2009 emailThe latest quangocrats will have a chance to work with existing SLCC Board members already featured in the newspapers for being less than consumer friendly. The recruitment advertisement from the Scottish Government states : “The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) requires 3 non lawyer members to become part of their Board with effect from February 2011. The successful candidates will be appointed by Scottish Ministers in consultation with the Lord President of the Court of Session.As a non lawyer member you will have the ability to apply objective and impartial judgement to the resolution of disputes, have the ability to offer guidance on one or more of the following Commission activities: regulation, consumer rights, consumer advocacy, consumer needs and have the ability to contribute to an effective team.”

The advertisement continues : “The SLCC was established by the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007. The main functions of the Commission are to resolve complaints alleging inadequate professional service or negligence by legal practitioners, to refer complaints which allege professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct to the relevant professional body and to promote good practice in complaints handling.”

SLCC members expenses Becoming an SLCC board member brings quango style expenses claims. Successful apologists, spivs & already employed quangocrats applicants can hope to receive remuneration of the order of : £209 per day. Travel and subsistence costs and reasonable receipted childcare and dependent carer expenses directly related to the Commission’s work will be reimbursed. Term of appointment: 5 years. Time commitment: Up to 6 days per month. Around one third of the time spent on the work of the Board and two thirds on complaints. Location of meetings: Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, The Stamp Office, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG. The closing date for applications is 29 November 2010, the Application Form & Guidance Pack may be of interest to those many clients who have already been maligned & victimised by the SLCC in dealings with complaints against the legal profession.

Jane IrvineSLCC’s Chair Jane Irvine claims in recruitment drive complaints quango has commitment & high standards ! A letter from the SLCC’s Chair, Jane Irvine, included in the guidance pack states : “The Board of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) is committed to resolving complaints and ensuring high standards of regulation of the Scottish legal profession are maintained. We work with our operational team to make that happen.As Chair of the Board I need new Board members who are committed to public service and willing to devote time and energy to both the governance and complaints handling roles that Board members engage in. Both roles are intellectually stimulating. The SLCC is still a relatively new body and we have much to learn and develop. The roles are also absorbing and enjoyable, as we work with a lively and committed operational team and sophisticated stakeholders.”

Frequent Flyers SLCCWhile the SLCC boast of commitment to public service, papers disclosed under Freedom of Information legislation revealed its top board members engaged in bitter insults against consumers. While the SLCC’s Chair, Jane Irvine claimed in her letter, the Scottish Legal Complaint Commission is committed to resolving complaints and ensuring high standards of regulation of the legal profession, earlier coverage of the SLCC’s board’s bitter attitudes towards consumers revealed its senior members, David Smith (husband of Court of Session judge Lady Smith), and well known Glasgow solicitor & SLCC Board member Margaret Scandal branded clients as, among other insults “frequent flyers” & “chancers” to name but a few incidents. Further investigative reports revealed SLCC board members refused to deal with consumer groups, engaging in bitter hate fuelled email exchanges over the exclusion of consumer interest organisations.

A legal source said today he was concerned over the wording of the requirements of the new appointees, pointing out the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission had never been designed to be a regulator with a remit on consumer rights or solicitor’s rights and pointed out the SLCC claims to be ‘a neutral body and operates independently of the legal profession’. He went onto say the new non-lawyer appointments may provoke a legal challenge on the basis the advertised requirements may violate solicitors right to a fair hearing under Article 6 of ECHR legislation.

He said : “I find it very odd the Scottish Government resorts to amending legislation without any substantial consultation to increase the SLCC’s compliment of board members with a specific remit on consumer rights where it was clearly never intended in the original legislation the SLCC would have any remit on solicitors rights, consumer rights or consumer advocacy.”

He continued : “The SLCC was intended to provide the profession & clients with a neutral, fair and independent regulator of complaints against the legal profession. Clearly these new appointments will create an imbalance at the SLCC where the interests of the profession, who are forced to pay for the SLCC’s extravagant upkeep, may receive less of a fair hearing with a board which will be heavily weighted against solicitors. I believe these new appointments could be open to challenge under Human Rights legislation.”

Another solicitor, speaking late this morning said : “This alarming move, which I have only heard of today, appears to be a window dressing exercise to appease the consumer lobby. There has been little debate within the profession to alter the SLCC’s role in such a radical manner and I believe this to be totally wrong, particularly considering we as solicitors are being forced to pay for it while it appears we have little say in how the SLCC is run.”

In response to solicitors claims they new arrangements would be weighted against the legal profession, a Scottish Government Spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is confident that there is appropriate balance, with the rights of solicitors maintained.”

An official from one of Scotland’s consumer organisations commented today the SLCC’s moves to attract individuals with consumer credentials was not what it seemed and urged consumers to be wary, pointing out previous SLCC decisions regarded as highly anti-consumer, notably where the SLCC decided to refuse to investigate any historical complaints before it began its work on 1st October 2008.

She said : “These appointments are not to be confused with lay appointments. As I understand matters, the SLCC are hoping to attract people with a legal background who may also have already served on consumer bodies, probably in the knowledge once they are appointed they will no longer be able to criticise the SLCC’s conduct towards consumer complaints or how the SLCC functions as a regulator. Consumers should beware of a false sense of security being projected by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in these new appointments.”

As I was asked today whether I might apply, for my own part, I will certainly not. I view the SLCC’s latest attempt to bolster its already non-existent consumer credentials as being too little too late. The SLCC have never been and will never be anything other than, as one MSP put it, ”a front company for the Law Society of Scotland”, no matter who serves on it.

To be part of something lesser, the SLCC, which has proved itself to be nothing more than an anti-consumer puppet of prejudiced self regulation would be an insult to the thousands of victims who have gone before, & continue to be left behind in the wake of the scores of Andrew Penmans, John G O’Donnells and the infamous many of Scotland’s bests-to-be-avoided legal profession, protected in their positions by the 'World's worst regulator' – the Law Society of Scotland.

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission were asked today for comment on the recruitment and also the prospect of any challenge from the legal profession over the apparent new ‘consumer oriented’ course of the SLCC. So far no reply has been received from the SLCC.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

uugh they are a disgusting mob trying to justify their existence good for you exposing it peter

Anonymous said...

I thought we were supposed to be in a recession and law firms were shedding people due to lack of business ?
If the SLCC is taking on even more costly officials then where is the money coming from to fund it ?

Anonymous said...

"A front company for the Law Society" the slcc certainly is!

Anonymous said...

Could be right on the unfair hearing part unless they balance it up with the present board members taking on an official role of representing lawyers interests.

Anonymous said...

Well spotted.Cant find any mention of it on Law Society website though.Reading yours on my smartfone will call around to hear more views.Good work!

Anonymous said...

Even at £209 a day to be called to the bars with Margaret Scanlan - no thanks !

Anonymous said...

Why no consultation ?
Where the SNP afraid the Law Society would pull more strings to kill it off ?
Which collaborators are going to apply thats what I want to know !

Anonymous said...

For once you surprise me Peter.This sounds like a job almost made for you!
Are you sure you dont want anything to do with it even with the £209 a day ?

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Peter.

If anything this latest shows you must be really getting to them !

Anonymous said...

I agree - window dressing at its best or worst !

Anonymous said...

David Smith needs to frequently fly off and do something else if he hates consumers so much.An absolutely terrible attitude to have in a regulator and why the hell wasnt he sacked ?
Disgusting also good to see all the comments !

Anonymous said...

More SNP sponsored bull*hit
What effect will 3 of their own people have on the other expenses spongers who get it all their own way ?

Anonymous said...

also 1st I've heard of it and no discussion from the LSoS

Anonymous said...

I agree the recruitment terms are restrictive to the point of creating an ECHR issue IF the three who are eventually appointed all come from consumer backgrounds or are consumer advocates.

Anonymous said...

Hmm yes sounds like they are trying to buy off their critics or get someone in to make excuses for them.Nasty lot!

Anonymous said...

Nothing on the Law Society website about it although your version seems to be accurate

Anonymous said...

The SLCC are looking for some patsy to open the door for clients going into their gas chambers - good to see you have the sense to stay clear of it.

Anonymous said...

£209 a day for some malcontent to tell us how to run our office and we have to pay for it!

Anonymous said...

"THE USUAL SUSPECTS, quangocrats, & other ‘regular-appointees-on-the-Government-circuit’ will today be rubbing their hands at the prospect of yet another publicly appointed position of £209+ per day to add to their growing list of jobs as it was revealed the Scottish Government announced they are seeking an additional three ‘non'-lawyer’ board members to fill positions on the anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and one further lawyer member appointment"

says it all really

increasing the numbers of pencil pushers wont help when an organisation as bad as the SLCC is as bad as the Law Society at protecting people from crooked lawyers

Anonymous said...

8 people at the SLCC are getting over £135,000 in expenses ?!!!

What a bloody joke what good have they done so far for anyone ? I dont see any stories about how they saved a client from some crook with an LLB !!!

Anonymous said...

Scotland’s top judge Lord Hamilton will have final say-so over SLCC’s new ‘non-lawyer’ appointees.

HAHAHA WHAT A JOKE !!!

Anonymous said...

Found links to the job offers here : http://www.appointed-for-scotland.org/ and

http://www.s1jobs.com/job/387024972.html

http://www.goodmoves.org.uk/jobs/7723

You are right - it sounds like they are after more from the quango circuit !

Maybe even Jane Irvine's Ombudsdog will be in with a chance !

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me stay back to read this!Spoiled my weekend now!

btw the David Smith email is a killer for consumer advocacy at the slcc

Anonymous said...

Typical SNP policy of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and it ends up even worse off.Why would anyone think bringing in more board members to an already discredited quango will do any good ?

Anonymous said...

It will be revealed later that 3 stooges who jumped ship to the SNP managed to get appointed to the SLCC!

Anonymous said...

Their expenses claims are disgusting and I see from your previous they all appear to have more than one job !

Anonymous said...

Why is our top judge invovled in selecting NON lawyers for a quango?

Another fit up approaching fast?

Anonymous said...

Not in the least bit surprised you said no.For one thing its a given no board members will be able to speak outside of the SLCC or have such an excellent blog as yours Mr Cherbi.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

So the Law Society/SLCC are looking for 3 malcontents to join up.I'm sure there will be a long list of greedy go-getters just waiting to sign on the dotted line in the name of doing good for consumers and coincidentally their own wallets.
Scum by any other name.

Anonymous said...

David Cameron says about the cuts we are all in this together but it seems the SLCC board members are bloody well not in it with the rest of us with their DISGUSTING expenses claims!

Anonymous said...

“The Scottish Government is confident that there is appropriate balance, with the rights of solicitors maintained.”

They said the same with regard to the Legal Services Bill.It then took SLAS & the GBA to rectify the position with regard to Section 92 (now removed) where Scottish Ministers were to be handed power to appoint Council members.

We are now faced with exactly the same set of circumstances where Scottish Ministers have created legislation allowing their interference in the running of the SLCC where consumer obsessive idiots who blow their own trumpet (no offence Peter,I exclude you as I see you have ruled yourself out of the running) will be parachuted into a position of giving clients an unfair advantage over solicitors facing some of the worst obsessive nutcases ever in existence (again, I exclude you Peter as I've read what Mr Penman and the Law Society did to you, which we all know was/is terrible.)This clearly creates an unfair situation for complaints.

Where is the enraged Mike Dailly when we need him ?

Anonymous said...

Interesting email from David Smith.I think it tells you a lot about how bad the SLCC is since he's still there.
If this had been a Government Minister castigating the public there would be calls for their resignation.Nothing for Mr Smith as he has the protection of the legal profession which the SLCC is obviously all about.

Good expose as always,Mr Cherbi.

Anonymous said...

I heard tonight this was supposed to be "a low key job advertisement".Clearly now its not!

Anonymous said...

I doubt there will be any court challenge by lawyers angry they wont get a fair hearing and probably the people who are getting the jobs have already been decided.End of story!

Anonymous said...

last comment @ 5.06pm - sounds about right from what I hear they put people through

Anonymous said...

Outrageous proposal from start to finish although I see they try to balance it out with adding another lawyer to the board just for good measure.Shameful.

These people along with their disgraceful expenses claims disgust me.

Anonymous said...

Well you sure gave them a good kickin in your blog!
Good for you mate they totally deserve it!

Anonymous said...

Ha!I bet this Jane Irvine thought you would jump at the job offer.Wont she be surprised when she reads your take on their so obviously silence the critics idea.
I also agree with the other comment about there not being any legal challenges.Lawyers (especially the crooked ones,probably most of them) are cowards unless its screwing their clients for every penny!

Expect a glossed over version in Monday's hootie?

Anonymous said...

@21:00

Enraged only when ego affected.Good point on S92!

Anonymous said...

A very silly attempt presumably by Kenny MacAskill to save this unpopular regulator.It should be scrapped and I'm sure even Peter Cherbi will agree with that !

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't join it for any amount of money but I bet there are some out there who will - and just for the money.

Keep us informed Peter!

Anonymous said...

Also surprised you are passing this one up Peter as it sounds to me like they were forced into offering these positions after all your hard work.Having said that I'm sure these jobs have already been filled even though its just been announced - typical Government appointments - as crooked as it comes.

Anonymous said...

More 'jobs for the boys' then?

Anonymous said...

"a background in legal education and complaints handling, the provision of advice to members of the public on or in relation to such matters, the practice and provision of legal education and training, civil or criminal proceedings, court procedures and practice generally, the practice and provision of other legal services, and the monitoring of legal services. "

and they claim to be looking for non-lawyers ?!

What a lot of rubbish.Lord President having to approve them seals the deal - THEY ARE LOOKING FOR LAWYERS ONLY OR EAGER COLLABORATORS

Anonymous said...

so the legal profession is so desperate to shut Peter down they come up with tricks like this ?

good thing you said no! more respect to you laddie!

Anonymous said...

money money money for protecting crooked lawyers!

Anonymous said...

I warn all of you against thinking the SLCC are any good at investigating complaints I tried to make a complaint against my solicitor over his stealing from my bank account and all they did was sent it to the Law Society who did nothing and let him get away with it

Anonymous said...

We call these kind of people ass kissers over here :D
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ass+kisser

Ass kisser = a suck up, someone who will kiss someone's butt to gain points. Sometimes these folks are known as bum-kissers. Often these folks tend to be the goody goody types whom one can not trust for a second - these folks will use what you tell them, or do, against you for their own personal gain. Most of these people are social nerds with few social skills - the only way they can get attention is to play suck up to someone important - usually a boss, manager or teacher/professor - an authority fiqure.

The best way to deal with these kind of people - bum-kissers is to avoid them - never trust them, never confide with them.
I had a co-worker who was the consumate ass-kisser - he would suck up to the boss all day long to gain favors and access. All of us in the office were aware of this situation and adopted a strategy of avoidance - keeping our mouths shut and not getting involved with the little bum kisser in any way. The little ass kisser functioned in his own little world.

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for all your comments & emails on this article.

I have received additional information regarding these "appointments" which will feature in a further report ... suffice to say the expectations of some of your comments will be realised in precisely who is appointed to the SLCC ...

Anonymous said...

What a turn up for the books - I thought you would jump at this but obviously your head is screwed on the right way.Its a trap without doubt these people will never change their ways,chancers & frequent flyers indeed.
This should be called the Scottish legal Cover up Commission!

Anonymous said...

Good for you Peter.
I'd say 10 miles away from this anti client mob they are clearly in it for themselves and their expenses.Duck houses anyone?

Keep up the exposures on these lurid parts of the justice system!

Anonymous said...

Why should solicitors and clients (because the cost will be passed onto clients) have to cough up some extra to fund these malcontents egos ?

Anonymous said...

"Consumers should beware of a false sense of security being projected by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission in these new appointments."

Well said whoever said it.
Also I'm very happy to see you take yourself out of the game here Mr Cherbi.I might have doubted your motives had you applied.Now I know you are a true and tireless campaigner.

Keep up the good work !

Anonymous said...

*cough cough* Scotsman today "We'll meet the new challenges, says complaints commission" by John Forsyth

Worth a read if you can get it as its not on their main site

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised Peter doesnt want anything to do with the SLCC.

I know he even refused meetings with Jane Irvine because its been discussed at work.

Anonymous said...

Any word yet on which losers applied ?

Anonymous said...

Hmm also very interesting again Peter especially now you revealed they only upheld one complaint last year!
I can understand you not wanting anything to do with it as its clearly a stitch up for lawyers and with all your excellent work I wouldnt suppose you would like to be linked to something as corrupt as the slcc

Anonymous said...

There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working ,great job!